The Pentagon’s inspector general has launched an investigation into Michael Flynn’s ties to foreign governments after retiring from the Army, according to documents released Thursday by the top Democrat on the House Oversight Committee.
The documents show the Defense Intelligence Agency warned Flynn after his 2014 retirement as the agency’s director that he was barred from accepting payments from foreign governments. However, Flynn violated by receiving secret payments from the Russian government.
According to the documents, the intelligence agency informed President Donald Trump’s former national security adviser in a letter that, as a retired military officer, Flynn was notified that he was prohibited from the “receipt of consulting fees, gifts, travel expenses, honoraria, or salary … from a foreign government unless congressional consent is first obtained,” and that he was still subject to the Constitution’s emoluments clause, which bars government officials from accepting gifts or payments from foreign governments.
“These documents raise grave questions about why General Flynn concealed the payments he received from foreign sources after he was warned explicitly by the Pentagon,” Rep. Elijah Cummings of Maryland, the oversight committee’s top Democrat, said in a statement.
Flynn resigned in February as national security adviser after it became clear he misled Vice President Mike Pence about his phone calls with Russia’s ambassador. He has since come under scrutiny for lobbying work he did on behalf of Turkey and a paid speech he gave in Moscow in 2015 at an event celebrating the Russia propaganda outlet RT. At the event, Flynn was seated at a table with Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Rep. Cummings and Oversight Chairman Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) held a joint press conference Tuesday in which they said Flynn might have broken the law by not disclosing the payments when he filed paperwork last year to renew his security clearance.